Medical Labeling: How to Place a Label on Blood Bags

One of the most delicate and risky types of medical labeling in the healthcare setting is that of labels that must be adhere to blood bags, including platelet samples and various types of blood components. There are many things to keep in mind when working with this type of specialized medical labeling as detailed below. Today’s blood bags use bar coded labels because these have been viewed as an effective way to provide critical information for important medical processes, including transfusion therapy. These kinds of processes have no margin for error because there cannot be donor incompatibility or mistakes with mixing up blood types.

It’s very detrimental when a hospital or lab is faced with a with peeling or missing label that could not withstand its environment or contact with chemicals, water, or even blood itself. In addition, medical labeling must be clearly marked and readable during storage to ensure that the expiration date, type of blood and the various blood components that do not share the same dating considerations can be easily verified. The use of high contrast print technology enables the labels to be easily scanned and read.

The most significant challenge with successful label placement on blood bags is contending with what can often be harsh environments, rigorous and high volume handling, and performance issues. Labels must stay on the bag and in good form through everything from cryogenic freezing to artificial warming to refrigeration—not to mention handle being immersed in a water bath to heat platelets for use. Today’s label technology includes specialized adhesives and face sheets that can ensure this bond does remain throughout all these challenges. These materials have also been tested to see how they might withstand freezing, thawing, and warming cycles to ensure placement maintains high performance expectations. This is typically the most challenging aspect because repeated cycles often lead to peeling labels, loss of performance and compromised readability.

Last, but not certainly least, is the fact that the blood bag labels must meet stringent regulatory requirements dictated by the medical industry as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This covers labeling, storage, security and tracking. At the same time, the label placement must help the medical industry streamline processes in a way that maintains efficiency—critically important when speed can often mean the difference between life and death. I

n Review Here are the main points to remember when thinking about medical labeling of blood bags:

  • The labels must stay adhered to the blood bags through all types of temperature cycles, harsh environments, and contact with other substances like water and chemicals.
  • The label must be placed in a way that is easy to read with no mistakes on which type of blood component or blood type is being grabbed from storage for an emergency situation.
  • Label placement is also guided by stringent industry and government requirements and standards.


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